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Katie Tsuyuki - Life is precious

Katie Tsuyuki is a freestyle snowboarder whose discipline is halfpipe. She is a member of the Canadian National Freestyle snowboard team

Death is always hard to deal with, especially when it’s unexpected. While I was driving from Calgary to Squamish, B.C., a few weeks ago I received news that a good friend and mentor left this world on the morning of Jan. 20.

A couple of days before that I was ecstatic about breaking the curse I faced in Calgary for the past five years. I finally landed competition runs at Canada Olympic Park and placed second in a national competition. However, the news of losing my comrade was heartbreaking.

Anthony John Crute leaves behind a beautiful wife, a 10-month-old daughter and a whole snowboard community who loved him and will miss him dearly. Anthony was an icon in the snowboard community. He was willing to help anyone and loved snowboarding for the freedom it gave him. He shared his love through his business venture, Pro Ride, an adult camp used to introduce snowboarding in a person’s life or take their riding to the next level.

Pro Ride was where I started when I first went to Whistler almost seven years ago. Anthony taught me the basics of riding the half pipe and made me feel at home while I was far away from my hometown. Although I changed many coaches after we worked together, he was always interested in my snowboarding career, playing the big brother role. I am very grateful for his leadership.

Losing Anthony has made me think about my life and how precious the things that I do are. A good friend reminded me that the best way to remember Anthony was to think of ways I can be a better person. I ask myself, how can I be more understanding, compassionate, focused, healthy and helpful?

Although Anthony’s death may not have been related to a snowboard fall (the coroner’s report hasn’t been finished), it has reminded me that snowboarding is an extreme sport where people can die.

I will take with me the lessons I have learned from these weeks of being a better person and to respect snowboarding as a whole

This week I am competing in Calgary again at the Canadian Open. Then I will have back-to-back World Cups in Cypress, B.C., and Stoneham, Que., respectively.

I will push myself to try harder and to improve everyday. That is what Anthony would’ve done and that is how I will keep him alive in my heart.

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